What is an Evangelical?

The “E Word” in Christianity is a funny thing. In one respect, Evangelicals are self-identified, and therefore, self-defined. On the other, popular culture (particularly media) lays its own meaning on what it means to be Evangelical. In the latter context, the word inevitably translates to “Conservative Christian.”But I think this definition isn’t fair. What’s more, it’s not accurate.I’m a self-proclaimed “word nerd,” so I tend to turn to etymology for help. The root meaning of “evangelic … [Read more...]

Thank God for DEATH: Could Anything be More Sacred? More Necessary? More Real?

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I want address the question of death because most people, religious and non-religious folk alike, are unaware of what God/Reality has revealed about death in the past few hundred years, through science. And this ignorance has resulted in untold suffering — for families and for society as a whole, as well as for individuals.I am regularly asked (more often since I was diagnosed with cancer two years ago), "Do you believe in an afterlife? What do you think happens to us when we die?" My typ … [Read more...]

a parable: the murder of the owner’s son

 What is the Kingdom? we get our first glimpse in the garden…harmony, the reality of what communion really is, and should be…God, humanity and creation as one. We see the prophets continuously, like editors in the script of the human story popping up…to re-focus us to fix the injustice of broken communion. Not just make me better, me and God being soul mates...but this beautiful interconnectedness of the three, God, humanity and creation. It get’s to the point much like the parable wher … [Read more...]

A Seat at The Table: Negative Space

"Negative Space", by Carmon Rinehart

For many years, I dreamed of attending a church where creativity was rampant, where artists were empowered to lead, and where artistry was revealed in many other people as well.  A church of creativity for the many (parishioners), rather than the few (clergy). A few years back, I realized with some pleasure that I was in fact attending just such a church, though I was at a loss to understand how it had come to be.  My best hope is that we can somehow reverse-engineer that goodness in order to s … [Read more...]

Should We Teach Disgust As A Religious Value?

“Disgust is one of the six basic human emotions that any healthy adult can experience and recognize. Emotional disgust is the only one, among living creatures, that’s unique to humans, and the only one that has to be learned.” (“What We Find Gross, and Why,” Robin Matrantz Henig, a review in the NYT 1/20/12 of That’s Disgusting: Unraveling the Mysteries of Repulsion by Rachel Herz)After reading the review of Herz’s book, I also heard her discuss it on NPR and I began to wonder about our col … [Read more...]

Evidence as Modern-Day Scripture: What’s Real and What’s Important TODAY

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Few things dishonor and diminish God more severely than thinking of “scripture”, “God’s word”, or “divine revelation” as being limited to the Bible, rather than also reflecting humanity’s current and most up-to-date scientific, historic, and cross-cultural evidence. Indeed, I would argue that the health and wellbeing of families, nations, and our world in the 21st century will be enormously impacted by how religious individuals and institutions think about concepts such as "divine communication," … [Read more...]

For those who know: a modern parable

It may have occurred to you as strange my friend when the ravenous vultures began to circle and their constant heckle seemed to contradict their once ominous cry. Even then they cried with the same retched tone, without ever saying anything of substance, which could have provided an explanation for their dogma. I suppose if our great teacher had figured it all out as theirs did, we all would be one big happy family. However, when our teacher came he created instability through his nonsensical … [Read more...]

BEST EVOLUTION RESOURCES: Evolution as Inspiring, Meaningful Fact

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Not long ago I was interviewed on radio by an intelligent design creationist who kept insisting, "There is absolutely no evidence for evolution!" I was amazed that this person was either unaware or dismissive of what God has revealed in recent centuries about cosmic, Earth, geological, biological, and human history (known collectively as "big history" or "the epic of evolution" or "The Great Story"). Before the interview ended, I determined to write this blog post that offers links to some of t … [Read more...]

A parable:prodigal faith…returning home

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For years she had cultivated her faith in her father's house. And for years she looked out the windows across the fences, the barriers at the other side...wondering about those people the " other." One evening, just as the curtains were falling on another day all here questions and wondering errupted like a volcano. It all came spewing out and filled the space around her. There was no way she could shove and poke it all back in. It finally would have to dealt with. In the morning she would … [Read more...]

Sacred Science Music Video, by Peter Mayer: “My Soul”

I am thrilled to introduce the Emergent Village community to the work of singer-songwriter Peter Mayer, who presents a sacred view of our evolving universe and our human journey in emotionally powerful and bridge-building ways. My wife, Connie Barlow, periodically collaborates with Peter by turning some of her most evocative photographs (gathered during our ten years of traveling North America) into moving images to illustrate his lyrics, and then posting the finished music video on YouTube. To … [Read more...]

Video: God is Falling Apart

This is a series I am working on (this video is a rough cut; sorry about the lighting!!) - we will be working on these with camera crews. But wanted to give you a taste. - It is a challenge to see the crucial necessity of theology to reinvent itself, work alongside other ideologies (politics, economics, philosophy and etc.) or it might not otherwise survive. Also, it is a challenge to see God in a completely different light - a G|od who is fragmented...website: … [Read more...]

Idolatry of the Written Word

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Connie Barlow, my science writer wife, and I have been traveling North America for ten years as evolutionary evangelists. We have addressed more than 1,600 religious and non-religious groups—ranging from Catholic, Protestant, and Evangelical Christian churches, to New Thought, New Age, and Eastern spirituality groups, to Unitarian Universalists and secular high school, college, and university students. Our passion, our calling, is showing how a science-based view of human nature, death, and the t … [Read more...]

Jesus and American Exceptionalism by Randy Woodley

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It seems the concept of American Exceptionalism has made a comeback. This is especially notable if you listen for even just a few minutes to the Republican Primary debates. The term is kind of new, but the concept began many years ago. Basically, it translates to mean God favors America more than God favors (at least most) other nations.The early Puritans had a similar spiritual vision to build a "city upon a hill" as a sign for God’s will for all. They wanted to create a “New Jerusalem” and … [Read more...]

Missional Conversations with … Anthony Smith

I'm excited to be able to share my recent interview with Anthony Smith (a.k.a. Postmodern Negro). February is, after all, African American History Month, and, I must confess, Anthony was my first real African American friend, who has taught me much of what I now know about black history and my own white privilege. I'm deeply indebted to him for that!Anthony has been a great friend for the past seven years, and I've had the privilege of collaborating with him in several projects since that … [Read more...]


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